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Scotland's National Transport Strategy

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Chapter 1: Scotland's Transport Needs

1. Scotland aspires to be a world-class country where people want to live, business can thrive and to which visitors want to travel. We want Scotland to be a strong player in the global economic market, increasingly productive and able to respond well to new challenges, with thriving cities and rural economies and where disadvantaged communities also benefit from economic growth. We want Scotland to be a strong, healthy and just society and to have an environment which provides conditions for the improving health and well-being of people in Scotland. We want Scotland to reduce its global environmental and climate impact through sustainable development.

2. This context is described through this Government's existing policy and strategy documents which all have an influence on the development of the National Transport Strategy. These include the Framework for Economic Development in Scotland,1A Smart, Successful Scotland,2Changing Our Ways: Scotland's Climate Change Programme,3the Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland,4the National Planning Framework for Scotland,5People and Place - Regeneration Policy Statement,6Choosing Our Future: Scottish Sustainable Development Strategy,7Not in Education, Employment or Training,8Let's Make Scotland More Active: A Strategy for Physical Activity9, Scottish Tourism: The Next Decade - A Tourism Framework for Change,10Scotland's Culture: Scottish Executive Response to the Cultural Review11and the forthcoming Stragegy for Scotland with an Ageing Population.

3. Against the background of the vision for Scotland in 2025, our vision and objectives for transport in Scotland were set out in the 2004 Transport White Paper Scotland's Transport Future. 12

4. The White Paper set out some bold ambitions for transport. Much has already been achieved. We have created new structures across Scotland which are already delivering benefits for the people of Scotland. The Government agency, Transport Scotland has been set up to deliver our major road and rail schemes and to deliver the national concessionary fare scheme. Seven regional transport partnerships ( RTPs) have been established across Scotland to focus on the strategic approach to transport across their regions. These create the framework within which the delivery of transport can flourish.

5. Our vision is of "an accessible Scotland with safe, integrated and reliable transport that supports economic growth, provides opportunities for all and is easy to use; a transport system that meets everyone's needs, respects our environment and contributes to health; services recognised internationally for quality, technology and innovation, and for effective and well-maintained networks; a culture where fewer short journeys are made by car, where we favour public transport, walking and cycling because they are safe and sustainable, where transport providers and planners respond to the changing needs of businesses, communities and users, and where one ticket will get you anywhere" Scotland's Transport Future 2004.

6. We set five high level objectives for transport in Scotland's Transport Future. They are to:

  • Promote economic growth by building, enhancing managing and maintaining transport services, infrastructure and networks to maximise their efficiency;
  • Promote social inclusion by connecting remote and disadvantaged communities and increasing the accessibility of the transport network;
  • Protect our environment and improve health by building and investing in public transport and other types of efficient and sustainable transport which minimise emissions and consumption of resources and energy;
  • Improve safety of journeys by reducing accidents and enhancing the personal safety of pedestrians, drivers, passengers and staff; and
  • Improve integration by making journey planning and ticketing easier and working to ensure smooth connection between different forms of transport.

7. We believe the vision and high level objectives remain the right direction of travel. Your responses to our consultation demonstrate that this view is widely shared. Having shared agreement on where we want to get to is a huge step forward.

You told us… that it was important that there should be some continuity between the 2004 White Paper and Scotland's National Transport Strategy. You suggested that it was unnecessary to have both a vision and objectives in addition to goals and principles and that these could be simplified. We agree and will therefore focus on maintaining the consistency from the vision and objectives described in the 2004 White Paper and will drop the goals and principles, focusing rather on the strategic outcomes that will be achieved by delivering our high level objectives.

You told us… that the 5 high level objectives are appropriate and should be retained. Some of you wanted to prioritise these objectives, with promoting economic growth as the primary objective, whilst others wanted to rephrase the economic growth objective to focus on sustainable economic growth. A number of you wanted to add new objectives for improving health and tackling climate change. Many of you were content with the current focus of the objectives, as long as specific attention was given to issues of health improvement, social inclusion and emissions within the strategy.

8. We recognise that potential tensions exist between these high level objectives such as promoting economic growth while protecting our environment. However, we place great emphasis on ensuring synergy is achieved. Through our consultation this view was often polarised into language illustrating a view that we had to choose between the economy and the environment. We do not think this polarisation is right. In line with our Sustainable Development Strategy, our Framework for Economic Development and Scotland's Climate Change Programme we support sustainable development, which brings together the economy, the environment and social inclusion. Sustainable development principles will form the basis of our approach to this strategy.

9. The strategy will outline how Scotland can turn our shared vision into reality. It will outline what we as the Scottish Government will do to help position Scotland for the future and how we will work with our partners to enable them to play their part in turning the vision into reality.

10. There are 3 key strategic outcomes that we must focus on to achieve this vision. They are to:

  • Improve journey times and connections, to tackle congestion and the lack of integration and connections in transport which impact on our high level objectives for economic growth, social inclusion, integration and safety;
  • Reduce emissions, to tackle the issues of climate change, air quality and health improvement which impact on our high level objective for protecting the environment and improving health; and
  • Improve quality, accessibility and affordability, to give people a choice of public transport, where availability means better quality transport services and value for money or an alternative to the car.

11. These strategic outcomes will have wider benefits and will contribute to the delivery of a number of other key priorities including health improvement, social inclusion and regeneration. Tackling congestion, integrating services and infrastructure, improving connections and accessibility will all encourage individuals to make different choices about their preferred method of travel and enable individuals to become more economically active. As well as reducing emissions, policies to increase active travel and better integrate transport with services will contribute to increased physical activity and improved health.

12. These strategic outcomes will set the context for transport policy making and inform decision making for the next 20 years for the Executive and our key partners. They should become the guiding principles when developing strategy and prioritising resources. We recognise that this strategy cannot cover everything. However, through our strategic outcomes we want to give a clear focus on the major challenges that need to be addressed in order to make the biggest difference to achieving our vision for Scotland in 2025.

Figure 1: Strategic Context to NTS

image of Figure 1: Strategic Context to NTS

13. This does not mean that any one single project, or policy, which increases emissions or does not improve journey times cannot go ahead. It means that, in the round, this strategy will help us over the next 20 years demonstrate measurable progress on all three strategic outcomes.

14. Regional transport partnerships, local authorities and transport businesses will be key partners in delivering these strategic outcomes. We can change transport in Scotland for the better by working together to deliver national, regional and local strategies that integrate with each other. As regional transport partnerships mature and evolve they will take on further functions and strengthen the regional capacity to plan and deliver services.

15. This strategy sets out the direction of travel that flows from the strategic context as illustrated in figure 1.

16. To support this strategy we are also producing documents to illustrate in more detail our approach to rail, freight and buses. Scotland's Railways13 and our Freight Action Plan14 and Bus Action Plan15 will be published alongside Scotland's National Transport Strategy.

17. In the following chapters we will:

  • Set out the challenge for transport against each of these strategic outcomes, the progress that has been made and what still needs to be addressed;
  • Identify what we, as the Scottish Government will do, what we will encourage others to do and how we will work with our stakeholders to move forward; and
  • Outline how we intend to implement and monitor the strategy.